Wednesday, November 30, 2022

After months of delay, anti-corruption prosecutor selection moves forward

by Oleg SukhovDecember 7, 2021 10:13 pm
Members of the selection panel for choosing the chief anti-corruption prosecutor meet top officials, including President Volodymyr Zelensky's deputy chief of staff Oleh Tatarov, at the Prosecutor General's Office on Oct. 5, 2020.

The selection of an anti-corruption prosecutor has started to move forward following months of delay.

On Dec. 7, the selection panel announced its scores for the written test of two finalists.

Oleksandr Klymenko, a detective of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU), scored higher than prosecutor Andriy Synyuk.

Klymenko scored 18 points and Synyuk got 12.9. As a result, the total candidate scores of Klymenko and Synyuk are now 230 and 208, respectively.

All that’s left in the selection process are the final interviews with Klymenko and Synyuk, which all panel members will score. 

Selection panel meetings have been constantly delayed and disrupted since the job of the chief anti-corruption prosecutor became vacant in August 2020.  

The chief anti-corruption prosecutor oversees all cases pursued by the NABU. The selection of an independent professional who is free from political influence has been a key requirement of Ukraine’s Western partners and donors.

The panel that chooses the prosecutor consists of four international experts and seven members chosen by parliament.

Since international experts vetoed a candidate favored by the President’s Office in June, pro-government panel members have disrupted numerous panel meetings by failing to attend.

The NGO Anti-Corruption Action Center believes the President’s Office has been blocking panel meetings because it does not want an independent prosecutor to be chosen. 

On Nov. 26, President Volodymyr Zelensky said he was not aware of any pressure on the panel by the President’s Office. He added that he hoped the anti-corruption prosecutor would be chosen by the end of 2021.

The Anti-Corruption Action Center has praised Klymenko for investigating top officials, including Zelensky’s deputy chief of staff Oleh Tatarov. Synyuk is a direct subordinate of Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova, which raises concerns about his independence.

The anti-graft watchdog previously argued that the authorities wanted to falsify the results of the selection process in favor of Synyuk. 

According to the Anti-Corruption Action Center, the President’s Office might still disrupt the competition by canceling its results through a court.

During the Dec. 7 meeting, pro-government members of the selection panel discussed at length legal technicalities that could be used to challenge the results in court. 

Oleg Sukhov
Oleg Sukhov
Political reporter

Oleg Sukhov is a political reporter at the Kyiv Independent. He is a former editor and reporter at the Moscow Times. He has a master's degree in history from the Moscow State University. He moved to Ukraine in 2014 due to the crackdown on independent media in Russia and covered war, corruption, reforms and law enforcement for the Kyiv Post.

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